Red Dwarf Review: Series V Wrap Up

Well, we’ve reached the end of Red Dwarf V. Considered by fans and critics alike to be the best series of Red Dwarf, it’s pretty hard to disagree.

So I will make a small disagreement.

On one hand, Red Dwarf V was not really that consistent when it came to quality. Red Dwarf III was much more consistent, with not a single episode ranking below a 7.5 score (and only 1 episode reaching that low, the somewhat inconsistent “Timeslides”). Two episodes in Series V ranked below a 7; the somewhat cliche and/or dry “Terrorform” and “Demons and Angels”.

However, the four episodes this season that didn’t receive low scores are among the best episodes of Red Dwarf ever. “Holoship” took a tragic look on the love life of Arnold Rimmer, showing his emotional complexion. “The Inquisitor” gave us a look on the complexities of Lister’s character, and how and why he is considered the hero of the show, no matter who gets top billing. “Quarantine” gives us a deeper look inside just how messed up Rimmer can go, especially under a holo-virus, as well as the overall dynamic between the Boys from the Dwarf. And “Back to Reality”, the best ever Red Dwarf, gave us an idea of what would happen if our main characters had a pivotal part of their characters inverted or nullified.

In terms of character, barring the two duff episodes listed above, this series really showed the zenith of the characters. Rimmer is as complex and rounded as ever, going from a tragically sympathetic figure that was molded by outside circumstances into the character we all know and love, to a deranged egoist who makes you wonder how the Boys from the Dwarf haven’t pulled the plug on his hologram yet. Lister takes the role of the moral and strategic center, as he displays a desire to do good for the common man, only kills in strong situations, and can plan ways to get out of sticky situations. (He still forgets to add parts when reconstructing Kryten). Kryten establishes himself as the smart guy, providing whatever scientific exposition is needed for the day, as well as humor surrounding his knowledge of the Space Corps and technoid concepts.

Even the Cat, who doesn’t get a lot of development in this series, gets full mileage out of every line he gets in the show. He is the plucky comic relief of the crew, so that makes sense. Even then, we are reminded in “Back to Reality” just how shallow the dude is.

The only series that this was bad for was Holly; reduced to little more than a gag character, by the end of the series, Grant Naylor had decided to finally retire the character.

Production wise, this was a darker season… literally. There was stronger use of dark-lit rooms. Even the ship’s beige seemed to take on a darker tone to it. Set development was pretty damn creative; even the clunkers had well-developed visual effects.

Really, elaborating more for this series would be worthless. This series is all but fantastic. Even if you never watched the show before… watch this series. Even if you dislike sci-fi, or are not a fan of Red Dwarf, watch “Back to Reality”. The four episodes that are good in this series are sublime TV. The two that aren’t still had a ton of potential, as well as tons of funny lines.

Still, is this my favorite season? Not really. Series III was much more consistent in its quality. Still, this season was pretty fantastic.


Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 6: "Back to Reality"

Airdate: 26 March, 1992

Synopsis: Starbug is investigating the wreck of the SS Esperanto, which was conducting seeding experiments at the bottom of an ocean-covered moon. Apparently, despite the success of the ship, all the members committed suicide, apparently as a result of a toxin. Suddenly, Starbug (whose members suddenly become depressed) has to evade a giant squid. They crash…

…and thus, ends the Total Immersion Videogame Red Dwarf. Final score? 4%.

The people playing the game wake up, and slowly not only realize that they outright played the game wrong, they also get oriented to who they once were. Kryten was played by half-human cyber-cop Jake Bullet, who was a mere traffic officer. Lister was played by Sebastian Doyle, the voter colonel of a fascist state who headed a secret police to take people away. Rimmer was played by Billy Doyle, a miserable failure and the half-brother of Sebastian. And the Cat? Horror of all horrors, he was played by Duane Dibbley, a geek with no sense of fashion nor grace. Despair sets in, especially once Jake Bullet kills somebody that reveals the pure horror of the world they exist in.

Review (SOME SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD): This was the first episode written for Series V, which was thought to be the last series due to cast issues (for one, Robert Llewellyn was going to do Red Dwarf USA, and Chris Barrie was to work on The Brittas Empire. Thus, the episode was pushed back to the last one, in case it was truly the end for the Boys from the Dwarf. Juliet May, who directed this, had trouble confining to the sci-fi atmosphere of the show and resigned midway through the series.

So, how low could this go? Well, let’s just take a look at a review or two or four of this episode.

“If there is one show to watch again (and again and again), then this is most certainly it.”  – Stacy Kidd, Den of Geek’s “Top 10 Red Dwarf Episodes”.

“And so, one of the immutable laws of the universe asserts itself – poll Red Dwarf fans on their favourite episode, and ‘Back to Reality’ will win.” – Fan site Ganymede and Titan, on the episode placing 1st in the 20th anniversary survey.

“Well, this is it – the pinnacle of human endeavour. The videotape containing this one should be behind bullet-proof glass in a museum. It’s no less than perfect, with an inspired mix of ingenious plotting, brilliant writing, and stunning performances. This video could cure cancer.” Reviews by Gavrielle, taking a look at Series V. 

“It’s just shy of 1000 points ahead of it’s rival – by far the biggest margin – and it’s the favourite episode of 18% of Red Dwarf fans. It won the “Smegzine” poll in 1992, the Better Than Life poll in 1999, the G&T poll in 2008, and it’s our second non-mover. Back To Reality is quite simply a remarkable piece of television.” – Ganymede and Titan, on the episode placing 1st (again) in the Silver Survey in 2013.

(Apologies to those whose quotes I used. Shoot me an email if you want them removed.)

So, all those quotes indicate that this episode is quite popular. And you know what?

They are right.

I don’t believe that things can achieve pure perfection. However, “Back to Reality” comes pretty damn close to breaking that threshold. It is one of the most well-constructed TV episodes ever.

The reason de jure of Red Dwarf’s popularity are the well-crafted characters and the humor that revolves around them. “Back to Reality” takes this to the hilt, all while adding plenty of drama surrounding the characters.

First, there’s Jake Bullet. The centerpiece of Kryten’s character is that, no matter how much of a superego he is, he is simply unable to bring himself to kill humans; it’s in his programming. Jake Bullet has the option to stun a human with a weapon he uses. He instead kills. Thus, he is driven to the emotional brink, contemplating terminating himself (i.e. suicide).

We then have Sebastian Doyle. As much as Lister is an unambitious slob, he is also a firm believer in the goodness of the average man, as well as independence and a skepticism of authority. He is quite clearly the most moral character of the core four. To see him in an absolute dictatorship, overseeing a secret police out to kill dissenters of a fascist state, goes against every single one of his principles.

Now, Billy Doyle. Rimmer and Billy are both pathetic lowlifes who have quite clearly failed in their life. However, Rimmer has tried to justify this by blaming other people. To an extent, Rimmer has a good excuse; his upbringing was pathetic. Now that Billy and Sebastian had similar upbringings, with Sebastian being more successful in theory, he could no longer blame his past for his failures. He puts it best:

“This is a nightmare! I’m on the run from the Fascist Police with a murderer, a mass murderer, and a man in a Bri-Nylon shirt!”

On the subject of the Bri-Nylon shirt, we now go to Duane Dibbley.

Duane Dibbley?

This episode pretty much states what we have long known/feared; the Cat’s personality is as thin as a New York Pizza (relatively speaking, of course). The Cat’s focus is on his self-image and grace, as well as being the most action-oriented of the three. Duane has none of that; he wears suspenders, has an overbite, and a bowl cut. He has no sense of action or grace. With the one outstanding trait of the Cat nullified, Duane has no sense of self-worth.

Beyond character, the writing is brilliant. There is little unnecessary exposition; even Andy’s “Welcome Back to the Real World” sets the tone for the “We really suck” attitude that encompasses the characters over the next 15 minutes. The twists and turns add to the humor and character development.

Production-wise, this episode really stretches it. The acting of everybody is fantastic. The cop, played by Lenny Von Dohlen (Harold Smith from Twin Peaks), is shown with a borderline lust for his cruel job… and it is fantastic. Nothing is overt; emotions are first seen in the faces. When Sebastian realizes what his job his, his face quickly becomes pained.

It’s a very small detail, but look closely at Sebastian’s face. you can tell that he is truly shaken by the reveal that he was only a mass murderer.

The car chase that follows, well, is unique. Let’s just say it really helped with the budget. It really is fantastic and helps bring the episode to its final twist.
This episode has it all; fantastic characterisation, superb humor, sublime drama, effective special effects, awesome acting. In short, this is…

…the best Red Dwarf ever.

Favorite Scene: I should really just provide a link to the episode on iTunes. It really is that fantastic. However, since I have to pick, I will simply say that the car chase is sublime.

Least Favorite Scene: Saying this has a least favorite scene would be an insult to this episode. It’s simply fantastic.

Score: 10.

Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 5: "Demons and Angels"

Airdate: 19 March, 1992

Synopsis: Kryten creates a triplocator, a device that creates two additional copies of any object. However, it creates one copy that is divine and pure, and another that is vile and base. Thus, when Red Dwarf gets affected and the original copy is blown to smithereens, the crew have to board both the high ship and the low ship and collect both sides within an hour. The high ship contains everything perfect, such as well-lit rooms, kind crew members, and edible pot noodles. The low ship is broken and staffed by sadists, who want to torture Lister as much as possible.

Review: This episode could’ve worked.

Examining the high aspects and the low aspects of every character might have been a bit obvious (especially with Rimmer’s low aspects), but look at the potential! We could’ve taken a look at the high aspects of the characters for once – I point to Rimmer’s ambition, Lister’s kindness, Cat’s ability to take action, and Kryten’s scientific mind – and could’ve elaborated on how having these as a character’s only character traits is boring. We also could’ve elaborated on the lows, with each one being shaped to a character’s unique traits, such as Lister’s slobbishness, Cat’s vanity, Kryten’s OCD, and Rimmer’s ego. Sure, these have been elaborated on before, but seeing all of them at once at their lowest moments would’ve made for an impressive comedy of errors, as well as show us that, as bad as our guys are, they could be much more dysfunctional.

Thing is, we came close enough to that in “Polymorph”, where all their positive or negative traits were flipped and exaggerated. Instead, we are treated to high and low versions that are mostly stock characters. The high versions are perfect and uniform, with few differences. Give me PC-Rimmer from “Polymorph” before this guy any day! The low versions are but clichés with little connection to the characters they were based on. That’s the tragic part of it all; they could’ve done so much with these characters, and went for the same old route any other show would’ve taken.

Where this episode lacks in script strength, it more than makes up for in one-liner comedy and set design. There are a lot of jokes that, alone, are pretty damned funny. The set design is also pretty cool and colorful.

Yet, that’s not really what Red Dwarf is about. Red Dwarf is mainly about character comedy, of which there is little once we get to the highs and the lows; it’s replaced in favor of one-liners about pot noodles, as well as some of the most disturbing violence in the show’s history.

Overall, this is certainly an episode to watch if you want a few rapid-fire jokes. If you are looking for character comedy… well, there are far better options.

Favorite Moment: Holly’s warning to the crew.

Rude alert! Rude alert! An electrical fire has knocked out my voice recognition unicycle! Many wurlitzers are missing from my database! Abandon shop; this is not a daffodil! Repeat: this is not a daffodil!

Rimmer promptly responds by declaring that Holly’s unaffected. Fantastic character comedy there.

Least Favorite Moment: The entire torture sequence with the Low Dwarfers is quite uncomfortable to watch… and not in a good way.

Score: 6.

Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 4: "Quarantine"

Think your bunkmate is bad? Try living with this guy.

Airdate: 12 March, 1992

Synopsis: The crew land on an ice planet to rescue Dr. Lanstrom, a holo-researcher. This would require Rimmer to be turned off. The trio realize that Dr. Langstrom has a holo-virus that drives her insane… yet also researched “good” viruses that provide good luck and happiness. Meanwhile, finally driven over the edge, Rimmer acquires the Space Corps Directives book thanks to Kryten, and begins using it against the crew, forcing them in a 1-bunk quarantine with no entertainment… in the hope that they destroy themselves. However, Rimmer manages to still catch a holo-virus… thanks to the holo-virus being transmitted over the radio.

Review: Certainly, this episode is one of those “reminder” episodes that Red Dwarf likes to utilise; that Lister is technically the only real crew member on board ship, that Kryten still is generally of little value when compared to his contemporaries, and, most importantly, that for all life threw at him, Rimmer is a smeghead.

On that last point, we are thrust straight into his neurosis at the beginning. It’s a constant cycle; nobody likes him, so he’s a smeghead, causing nobody to like him, causing him to act like a smeghead. Again, nobody liking him is not a justification for Rimmer’s behavior. He more or less uses his revenge by turning his crew member’s flaws against him. Kryten’s desire to quote Space Corps Directives gets Rimmer a nifty Book ‘O Directives, causing him to trap the crew in quarantine, use every technicality and loophole in the book, borderline torturing the crew, and getting the crew to turn on each other. The Holo-virus he gets simply exaggerates his behavior to comically sick levels.

The trio getting trapped in Quarantine also shows that their hatred of Rimmer is the closest they have in common. Lister is a total slob who really didn’t mature past his early teenage years, the Cat is more egocentric than Rimmer and will not confess to anything that could put him in a negative light, and Kryten is neurotic and will do anything to the letter. The three are basically the three faces of Rimmer: the immaturity, the ego, and the neurosis. Yet, they all hate him. Is it because Rimmer is a smeghead? Or is it because they strive to not sink to Rimmer’s smegish levels and use attacks on him as a means of defense?

Oh, crap. I over-analyzed a sitcom where Rimmer contacts a holo-virus, causing him to pull out and converse with a stuffed penguin puppet!

That seems to be what many people seem to remember this episode for; holo-virus infected Rimmer. That, my geeky friends, is just one of the many funny scenes this episode possesses. While the first half is a bit dry, once we go into Quarantine, damn near every joke connects. Rundown?

  • This dialog:
    • Rimmer: “I think that requires two hours of W.O.O.”
    • Lister: “Well, what’s W.O.O?” “
    • The Cat: (in a very dry manner) “You had to ask.”
    • Rimmer: “With… out… oxygen! No oxygen for two hours! That’ll teach you to be breadbaskets!”
  • The lineup of meals served in quarantine (sprouts are a bit involved), as well as the entertainment (which is impressively bad).
  • The revival of “smee hee”.
  • The use of the luck virus.
  • “You know what happens when you call me tetchy!” So Lister writes it.
Just… fantastic! The drier first half keeps it from achieving “best episode”, but it still deserves the praise it gets.
Favorite Scene: Can’t I just say anything shown past “Rimmer orders the crew in quarantine?”
Least Favorite Scene: I don’t think that Dr. Lanstrom chasing the crew was particularly funny.

Score: 9

Update: The title should read Episode 4, not Episode 2. Sorry.

Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 3: "Terrorform"

Airdate: 5 March, 1992

Ah, waltzing around on a swamp planet that’s powered by the brain. How bad could this be? Well…

Synopsis: Rimmer and Kryten wind up trapped on a psy-moon, a moon created by the psyche of any person, analyzing his subconscious and adapting it’s terrain and it’s inhabitants to fit said subconscious… up to and including the worst demons. Rimmer is kidnapped by the inhabitants, Kryten manages to use his eye and hand to get back to Cat and Lister (who think it’s a tarantula at first), and the three try and get Rimmer (now with a physical presence) back.

Review: This episode was… not very good.

It’s not a total write-off by any means. The plot of this episode, as well as the concept of the psy-moon, had so much damn potential. The visual effects, for a BBC sitcom in the mid-90s, still hold up very, very well. There is a lot of humour involving the interactions between the Cat and Lister, Kryten’s actions, Rimmer being prepared to get eaten by his psyche (it makes sense in context), Cat’s idea of putting on the “jet-powered rocket pants” and going to “Junior Birdman the hell outta here” (which seemed to be the last one to feature the “X is excellent, except X and Y” gag), and tons of subtle visual humour.

Subtle, though, is not this episode’s strong point when it comes to characterisation.

This episode is another “Rimmer is a neurotic smeghead” episode. And, unlike “Dimension Jump”, “Better Than Life”, and “Meltdown”, where we get to see this through his actions and past, this episode is as obvious as possible with it. The only way it could’ve been more obvious if it flashed RIMMER IS A NEUROTIC SMEGHEAD across the screen for the last 15 minutes of the episode. It’s also not subtle with how much the others hate Rimmer, especially with the last three minutes.

Oh, and what the smeg was with the sword fight at the end? It just screams “we don’t know how to end this obvious episode, so here are some beings representing Rimmer WHO IS STILL A NEUROTIC SMEGHEAD fighting each other!”

Again, the concept of the psy-moon is excellent. If it had been applied to the Cat, or Lister, it would have made for excellent character comedy. Instead, it’s done with Rimmer. The situation is obvious, and the episode falls a bit flat.

Favorite Moment: Gotta be the “Tarantula” scene. Brilliant character comedy. To add to that, no words are spoken.

Least Favorite Moment: Again, the stupid swordfight. Worst. Dwarf. Ending. Ever.

Score: 6.5.

Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 2: "The Inquisitor"

Airdate: 27 February, 1992

Synopsis: According to legend, the Inquisitor is a self-repairing simulant that lived until the end of time itself. After millions of years alone, h e came to the conclusion that there is no deity nor afterlife, and that the only purpose of existence is to live a life that is full of worth and justifiable. Therefore, he erases those which are deemed unfit for the gift of life, and replaces him/her with somebody that never had a chance – the unfertilized egg, the late sperm, for example.

It just so happens that the Inquisitor is real, and has the Boys from the Dwarf as his next target. When they are captured, they are given the parameters of the test to determine their worthiness of existence. What is that test? The Inquisitor is the judge, and the boys have to defend themselves. Which are saved? The Cat and Rimmer. Shocking, right? Well, they were judged…

… by themselves. The Inquisitor took the form of the person he was judging, personality and all. Rimmer managed to get out of the charges (that of being a selfish, cruel liar) by noting that his childhood was a mess, and he did the best he could given the circumstances. The Cat cites his own beauty, effectively agreeing to the charges laid against him. (“I’ve given pleasure to the world ’cause I have such a beautiful ass!”) Kryten tries to dismantle the charges against him by arguing that the only way he could do good deeds on his own is to break his programming and that The Inquisitor has no right to judge anybody. He is merely able to give the argument that he could’ve broken his programming and done good deeds, but didn’t do so. Lister simply refuses to hear the accusations that he slacked off in life. (“Spin on it!”)

Thus, Lister and Kryten are doomed. As memories of them by others are deleted, Lister and Kryten manage to break the Inquisitor, and try and reverse course… with a little help from a Liverpudlian slob and a snarky robot along the way, neither of whom recognize them.

Review: Well, glad to be reviewing Red Dwarf again.

For the first time in a decent while, Lister is given the center role in an episode. Does it work? Yes. In fact, this is almost the best episode of the series, beaten out by “Back to Reality”.

This episode is somewhat more dramatic than other episodes. While comedy is prevalent in this episode, it’s also an episode that’s not afraid to ask a question. That question? “What is a worthwhile life like?” Are we worthwhile? Does one judge his or her self-worth by the standards of society, or the standards of oneself?

The big one is simple; Can we improve ourselves? For example, you see The Inquisitor take on the persona of Lister before barbing him with the fact that he never tried. Since this is the persona of Lister, it unveils some deep-seated neurosis in him. Yet, he also reveals himself to be a brilliant man in the second half, setting up a scenario quite obviously influenced by The Iliad to take down the inquisitor. This is no accident; he was seen dissecting The Iliad in the beginning of the episode. Thus, he is one of the craftier people on the ship, and thus, has a purpose in life.

The idea of self-questioning is nothing really new, but its execution is brilliant. The Jack Docherty-played character is very innovative. He judges others, yet does it by taking the persona of the person on the hot seat, who are forced to question themselves if they made the most of their life. It’s brilliant, manipulative, and so cruel. It’s also seemingly nihilistic at first; those with inflated egos and tons of pride are to live, while those with neuroses are damned to be erased. Yet, it takes another turn that makes you think; Rimmer’s defense shows that even those who seem to be egoists can be very, very self-loathing, yet resort to trying to defend their actions (or lack thereof) so they can’t admit that their life was wasted.

The humor is not as fast-and-furious as a typical episode in, say, Series III. However, the timing of each joke and action is perfect enough to carry the jokes from one moment to another. It’s funny enough that the average viewer won’t think about the episode’s message at first; they’ll just be laughing constantly. The best joke, by a country mile, is the Cat’s defense.

It’s pure drama, comedy, science fiction… it’s just a fantastic episode. Too bad it aired in Series V, and is thus overlooked by the tragic “Holoship”, the mysterious “Quarantine”, and the purely topsy-turvy “Back to Reality”.

Favorite Moment: Again, it has to be the core four defending themselves. It’s dramatic (Rimmer’s defense), prophetic (Lister’s defense), thought provoking (Kryten’s defense) and hysterical (Cat’s defense, dear god, Cat’s defense!)

Least Favorite Moment: The one thing keeping it from a 10 score is Lister’s move to get past a door that won’t recognize them. It’s a bit out of character, given the near-perfect character that Lister is as of this episode.

Rating: 9.5.

Red Dwarf Review: Series V, Episode 1: "Holoship"

Airdate: 20 February, 1992

The eponymous Holoship.

Synopsis (Spoilers): Rimmer is skeptical of a film whose message comes off as “love triumphs career”. As he criticizes Lister for loving it, an energy force takes him away. (Cat: “Let’s get out of here before they bring him back.”) It turns out that Rimmer was kidnapped by a Holoship, the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment features the cream of the crop in terms of personnel, and casual sex is not just shrugged off… it’s mandatory. Rimmer’s piece of heaven, he realizes that he can get on… after a strenuous intellectual competition against another hologram. If Rimmer wins, said hologram is turned off. Rimmer also falls in love with Nirvanah Crane (Jane Horrocks), despite love having been long criticized on Enlightenment.

He tries to take the test with the help of a mind implant that would drastically increase his IQ (against Kryten’s wishes). However, the implant fails, as Rimmer’s mind will not mesh with the mind of anybody else. He gets a surprise mid test… although that makes him reconsider his decision to join Enlightenment.

Review (SPOILERS AHEAD): Well, this and “The Deep End” both have a connecting theme: personal desires over love. For Mabel, it was her epic summer romance versus the well being of a merman. For “Holoship”, it’s the advancement of career versus the well being of the others. Both Mabel and Rimmer are separated from their lovers for eternity, yet are separated for totally unselfish reasons on their part.

Never have I put the words “Rimmer” and “Unselfish” in the same sentence before. And that is why I had to labor over whether or not this episode should be considered the best Red Dwarf episode of the series. (Ultimately, it went to another episode). For the first time ever, Rimmer officially crosses from the “Jerkass” trope to the “Jerk with a Heart of Gold” trope. It really shows just how complex the writing is: for a comedy where jokes about vindaloo and the laddish culture rank high up, Red Dwarf is really a character study. Starting in Series I with the callous and uptight character, Series II and III really began peeling away, showing him as an insecure figure. Series IV emphasized his negative features a bit more, if only to remind us that, as much as Rimmer was a sympathetic character, he was still a smeghead. Now, Rimmer has made the greatest move he has made thus far, and one of the greatest moves he may have made in all ten series.

Of course, in 1992, this episode was voted as one of the weakest episode ever, simply because it focused too much on character, with unfavorable comparisons made to Star Trek (what RD was trying to avoid). However, “Holoship” did make many a nod to this pathos: in fact, Rimmer was critical of the “man puts love ahead of career” cliche in the beginning of the episode. Ah, irony.

Plus, this episode is so hysterical. Most of the jokes are quotable, and those that aren’t are still funny. Highlights include…

  • “They’ve taken Mr. Rimmer. Sir, they’ve taken Mr. Rimmer!” “Quick; let’s get out of here before they bring him back!”
  • Crane: “Perhaps, if you’re not in any great rush, Mr. Rimmer, we could retire to my quarters and have sex for a few hours.” (Smash cut to the two in bed).
  • “[Under a mind patch] You could be reduced to a gibbering simpleton!” “Reduced?”
  • And once Rimmer is under the mind Patch…
    • “Assuming of course we’re not dealing with five-dimensional objects in a basic Euclidean geometric universe and given the essential premise that all geo-mathematics is based on the hideously limiting notion that one plus one equals two, and not as {Astemeyer} correctly postulates that one and two are in fact the same thing observed from different precepts, the theoretical shape described by {Siddus} must therefore be a poly-dri-doc-deca-wee-hedron-a-hexa-sexa-hedro-adicon-a-di-bi-dolly-he-deca-dodron. Everything else is popycock. Isn’t that so?”
    • “I wrote a Palindromic Haiku this morning! Perhaps you would like to hear it?”
  • Just don’t get me started on the “Binks to Enlightment” scene.
It’s a fantastic episode, and required viewing for any Dwarfer!
Favorite Scene: The scene after Rimmer and Crane have sex. Not because it’s funny (although it is), but because the acting shows the love in Rimmer’s mind rather than tells you.
Least Favorite Scene: Honestly, the interviewing scene, while not bad, was tedious enough to drag this episode down a bit. It was this scene that kept the episode out of the spot of my favorite episode of the series.
Score: 9.

Red Dwarf Review: Series 5 Preview.

Well, after watching the embarrassment to comedy called Season 23 of The Simpsons, I must say, I am SO glad to go back to the boys from the Dwarf.

Series V of Red Dwarf was pivotal in terms of production. Why?

First off, producer and director Ed Bye packed his bags and quit, going to work on The Full Wax (starring Bye’s wife, Ruby Wax. (Side note: Wax played Blaze Falconburger in “Timeslides” from Series III._ Juliet May was brought on board as Director. Her previous experience included Top of the Pops (Americans, think American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and Soul Train rolled into a British package) and Heil Honey, I’m Home (a dom-com… about Adolf Hitler. Yes, that happened.) However, she couldn’t work with the sci-fi confines of the show, and left four episodes in. Hillary Jones also became a producer, and stayed on during series V.

At the same time, Grant/Naylor decided to focus more on story compared to humor. However, the troubles with May caused two episodes, “Quarantine” and “Back to Reality”, to be produced in a hurry.

The budget was stretched to the limit. Remember, we’re dealing with a show on the BBC during the John Major era. Major (and his predecessor, Margaret Thatcher) took something of a meat cleaver to the BBC budget. Red Dwarf did not have a whole lot of wiggle room. Also, the original model for the Red Dwarf broke, so a new model had to be constructed.

Lastly, Grant/Naylor went to NBC in America to produce Red Dwarf USA… which never went past its two pilots.

Overall, production was a mess. And to top it all off…

… not only did Series V top the viewership on BBC Two, but Series V is now considered to be the best series. One episode, in particular, is considered to be the best of Red Dwarf

So, let’s go down the episode list!

  • Holoship: The crew of the Dwarf encounter a hologrammatic ship, the Enlightenment. Rimmer manages to get into the running to become a new face on the ship.
  • The Inquisitor: The eponymous character of the episode declares himself judge, jury, and executioner of the universe… and is taking aim at the boys from the Dwarf.
  • Terrorform: Rimmer is kidnapped, and winds up on a psi-moon, where his inner demons attack him.
  • Quarantine: Rimmer contacts a holo-virus, and is placed in Quarantine. (Duh). He goes insane, sending the crew to WOO. (Let me tell you, WOO ain’t fun).
  • Demons and Angels: The Dwarf is split in two, alongside the cast and crew. One side is a peaceful Mary-Suetopia where love is practiced. The other side represents some of the most sickening humanity ever descended.
  • Back to Reality: The crew hit the despair squid, die, and realize that… it’s too awesome to reveal right now. Just remember the name “Duane Dibbley”.
Ye gods, we are in for a fantastic series!